(General Braddock at the head of the 1755 expedition. Painting by Patrick White.)
Orders to Attack Fort Duquesne
In 1755 England's General Edward Braddock was appointed to lead Colonial military operations against the French and their Indian allies. With two regiments of British Regulars and a small number of junior officers including colonials like George Washington, Braddock set out in mid-April to attack the French at Fort Duquesne which was situated at the juncture of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers (where modern-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now stands).
Enroute to Fort Duquesne Braddock and his small army camped one evening near what is now Circleville, Pennsylvania. Braddock sent scouts out to try and get a better lay of the land and, most importantly, to find the Youghiogheny River which would indicate Fort Duquesne was not far away according to a map that had been hand drawn by George Washington. The scouts returned and verified the accuracy of Washington's map.
Burying the King's Gold
Before setting out to attack Fort Duquesne, Braddock decided that the King's gold the column was carrying as payroll for the officers and men should be buried to prevent it from falling into the hands of the French. It could then be recovered after the battle was won.
Braddock ordered the scouts to retrace their trail to Youghiogheny River and cache the gold there. This they did, following Crawford Run to the river and burying the cache of gold coins under a walnut tree. After burying the gold, the scouts departed to rejoin Braddock's column.
Ambush and Massacre
Braddock's small army crossed the Monongahela (near what is now Duquesne) and began its march down the river valley. George Washington pointed out to Braddock that they were in the Turtle Valley, which was not the direction they wanted to be going. Realizing his mistake, the English commander ordered the column to recross the river at a point near modern-day Braddock.
Unfortunately for Braddock and his army, the French and Indians were waiting in a narrow defile to ambush the column. The resultant massacre cost the lives of most of Braddock's soldiers and left Braddock mortally wounded. Carried off the field by George Washington himself, Braddock died a few days later. The remnants of his shattered army then retreated up the Monongahela Valley to Uniontown.
Where is Braddock's Gold?
At this point, the pertinent question for any treasure hunter worth his or her salt is "where is Braddock's Gold?" The obvious answer: buried somewhere near the Youghiogheny River.
However, the walnut tree in question is long gone and it will take diligent research to gather the salient historical clues that, when assembled in proper sequence, may lead one of you out there to a fortune in gold specie.
Good hunting and may the ghost of General Edward Braddock guide you.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "3 Wyoming Treasure Caches"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
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